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analogy of parts, which is understood to give foundation to the most reputable usage of Speech ; and which, in all cases, when usage is loose or dubious, possesses considerable authority. In every Language, there are rules of syntax which must be inviolably observed by all who would either write or speak with any propriety. For syntax is no other than that arrangement of words in a sentence, which renders the meaning of each word, and the relation of all the words to one another, most clear and intelligible.;

All the rules of Latin Syntax, it is true, cannot be applied to our Language. Many of these rules arose from the particular form of their Language, which occasioned verbs or prepositions to govern, some the genitive, some the dative, some the accusative or ablative case. But, abstracting from these peculiarities, it is to be always remembered, that the chief and fundamental rules of syntax are common to the English as well as the Latin Tongue; and, indeed, belong equally to all Languages. For, in all Languages, the parts which compose Speech are essentially the same ; substantives, adjectives, verbs, and connecting particles : And wherever these parts of Speech are found, there are certain necessary relations among them, which regulate their syntax, or the place which they ought to possess in a sentence. Thus, in English, just as much as in Latin, the adjective must, by position, be made to agree with its substantive; and the verb must agree with its nominative in person and number; because, from the nature of things, a word, which expresses either a quality or an action, must correspond as closely as possible with the name of that thing whose quality, or whose action, it expresses. Two or more substantives, joined by a copulative, must always require the verbs or pronouns, to which they refer, to be placed in the plural number; otherwise, their common relation to these verbs or pronouns is not pointed out. An active verb must, in every Language, govern the accusative; that is, clearly point out some substantive noun, as the object to which its action is directed. A relative pronoun must, in every form of Speech, agree with its antecedent in gender, number, and person ; and conjunctions, or connecting particles, ought always to couple like cases and moods; that is, ought to join together words which are of the same form and state with each other. I mention these, as a few exemplifications of that fundamental regard to syntax, which, even in such a Language as ours, is absolutely requisite for writing or speaking with any propriety.

Whatever the advantages or defects of the English Language be, as it is our own Language, it deserves a high degree of our study and attention, both with regard to the choice of words which we employ, and with regard to the syntax, or the arrangement of these words in a sentence. We know how much the Greeks and the Romans, in their most polished and flourishing times, cultivated their own Tongues. We know how much study both the French, and the Italians, have bestowed upon theirs. Whatever knowledge may be acquired by the study of other

anguages, it can never be communicated with advantage, unless by such as can write and speak their own Language well. Let the matter of an author be ever so good and useful, his compositions will always suffer in the public esteem, if his expression be deficient in purity and propriety. At the same time, the attainment of a correct and elegant

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style, is an object which demands application and labour. If any imagine

any imagine they can catch it merely by the ear, or acquire it by a slight perusal of some of our good authors, they will find themselves much disappointed. The many errors, even in point of grammar, the many offences against purity of Language, which are committed by writers who are far from being contemptible, demonstrate, that a careful study of the Language is previously requisite, in all who aim at writing it properly.*



Having finished the subject of Language, I now enter on the consideration of Style, and the rules that relate to it.

On this subject, the Reader ought to peruse Dr. Lowth's Short Introduction to English Grammar, with Critical Notes; which is the grammatical performance of highest authority that has appeared in our time, and in which he will see, what I have said concerning the inaccuracies in Language of some of our best writers, fully verified. In Dr. Campbell's Philosophy of Rhetoric, he will likewise fine many acute and ingenious observations, both on the English Language, and on Style in general. And Dr. Priestley's Rudiments of English Grammar will also be useful, by pointing out several of the errors into which writers are apt to fall. VOL. I.


It is not easy to give a precise idea of what is meant by Style. The best definition I can give of it is, the peculiar manner in which a man expresses his conceptions, by means of Language. It is different from mere Language or words. The words which an author employs, may be proper and faultless; and his Style may, nevertheless, have great faults : it may be dry or stiff, or feeble, or affected. Style has always some reference to an author's manner of thinking. It is a picture of the ideas which rise in his mind, and of the manner in which they rise there; and, hence, when we are examining an author's composition, it is, in many cases, extremely difficult to separate the Style from the sentiment. No wonder these two should be so intimately connected, as Style is nothing else than that sort of expression which our thoughts most readily assume. Hence different countries have been noted for peculiarities of Style, suited to their different temper and genius. The eastern nations animated their Style with the most strong and hyperbolical figures. The Athenians, a polished and acute people, formed a Style accurate, clear, and neat. The Asiatics, gay and loose in their manners, affected a Style florid and diffuse. The like sort of characteristical differences are commonly remarked

the Style of the French, the English, and the Spaniards. In giving the general characters of Style, it is usual to talk of a nervous, a feeble, or a spirited Style; which are plainly the characters of a writer's manner of thinking, as well as of expressing himself: so difficult it is to separate these two things from one another. Of the general characters of Style, I am afterwards to discourse; but it will be necessary to begin with examining the more simple qualities of


it; from the assemblage of which, its more complex denominations, in a great measure, result.

All the qualities of a good Style may be ranged under two heads, Perspicuity and Ornament. For all that can possibly be required of Language, is, to convey our ideas clearly to the minds of others, and, at the same time, in such a dress, as, by pleasing and interesting them, shall most effectually strengthen the impressions which we seek to make. When both these ends are answered, we certainly accomplish every purpose for which we use Writing and Dis


Perspicuity, it will be readily admitted, is the fundamental quality of Style*; a quality so essential in every kind of Writing, that for the want of it, nothing can atone. Without this, the richest ornaments of Style only glimmer through the dark; and puzzle instead of pleasing the reader. This, therefore, must be our first object, to make our meaning clearly and fully understood, and understood without the least difficulty. Oratio,” says Quinctilian, “ debet negligenter quoque audientibus esse aperta; * ut in animum audientis, sicut sol in oculos, etiamsi s in eum non intendatur, occurrat. Quare, non s solum ut intelligere possit, sed ne omino possit non “ intelligere curandum.” + If we are obliged to fol


* “ Nobis prima sit virtus, perspicuitas, propria verba, rectus s ordo, non in longum dilata conclusio ; nihil neque desit, neque s superfluat."

QUINCTIL. lib. viii. † “ Discourse ought always to be obvious, even to the most

careless and negligent hearer, so that the sense shall strike his “ mind, as the light of the sun does our eyes, though they are " not directed upwards to it. We must study, not only that

every hearer may understand us, but that it shall be impossible "s for him not to understand us."

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